MANILA, Philippines?Every working mom out there frets about how to whip up quick, delicious meals for the family. Almost always, they feel they have very little time for meal planning and preparation. After a day?s work, the last thing on their mind is spending an hour or more chopping, cutting, cooking and cleaning up afterward.
Well, a little advance preparation and some creative menus are all it takes to make mealtime less stressful and more fun.
A recent cooking demonstration organized by Mama Sita, the famous line of mixes and sauces, showed ways on how to cook a bit more wisely and create memorable, tasty yet fuss-free dishes to satisfy the hubby and the hungry brood without having to spend eternity in the kitchen.
The demo was led by culinary expert Nancy Reyes-Lumen, granddaughter of Engracia ?Lola Asiang? Reyes, who was the mother of Teresita ?Mama Sita? Reyes, and young chef Peachy Reyes, grandchild of Mama Sita.
The Reyeses also shared some nutritional dishes that use a lot of vegetable, fish and chicken enhanced by the addition of Mama Sita products, such as oyster sauce and pang-gisa mix.
But more than just cooking, it?s about saving a lot of time and energy for most working moms who have to face the demands of cooking at home.
Here are 10 tips that Mama Sita assures can make life easier for career moms.
1. Delegate. Why cook alone when you can share the responsibility of setting up dinner with family members? Each member can assist in preparing the ingredients, such as washing or peeling the veggies, or by washing the dishes and utensils after cooking and after meals.
2. Plan with them. Involve family members in meal planning and take them with you to the supermarket. This is the best way to add some new flavors to your meals since each member may have a different preference and cooking ideas. It will also be a great learning experience for kids. Take note, working as a team is a perfect way to build family ties.
3. Organize. Plan meals at least a week in advance and incorporate the use of leftovers so you don?t have to rush home from work everyday just to mind the cooking. For example, the leftover chicken/pork adobo you had for Sunday night can be flaked and refried to make either an adobo sandwich or adobo fried rice for Monday evening. Leftover fried fish can also be flaked and made into easy fried lumpia.
4. Prepare in advance. If you know you?re not going to have time to cook one evening, prepare two dinners the night before and just reheat one the next night.
5. Get ready for excess. When preparing a meal using grated cheese, chopped onions, minced garlic, etc., prepare more than the recipe calls for and refrigerate the rest for another meal.
6. Wipe it clean. Clean your kitchen workspace as you go. When you?re done there will be little left to clean.
7. Simplify meals. Work around ingredients that are easily available or in season. It?s a waste of time to plan a meal only to find out the ingredients are not available. Learn how to make ?easy? salads as these are quite easy to make: Fresh greens are available year-round and require less time preparing. Encourage your children to eat fruits for their snack?fruits are convenient, no-cook and nutritious.
8. Jot down. Keep a notepad on the front of the refrigerator for your shopping list. When you run out of something, write it on the list right away. Encourage family members to do the same.
9. Make it big. Prepare favorite beverages such as lemonade, tea and fruit juices in big-sized pitchers so you won?t have to make them as often.
10. Use quick mixes. When trying to cut cooking time, use only cooking condiments and/or sauces of the best quality, such as Mama Sita products. They have full-bodied flavors that can stand alone as sauces for Asian dishes.
The following are some delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes that moms can try at home in a jiffy, prepared by the Reyeses.
Adobong Puso ng Saging na May Gata
2 pcs puso ng saging (haba), sliced ?-inch thick diagonally
2 tbsp oil
1 head garlic, chopped
1 pouch Mama Sita?s Adobo Mix, dissolved in 2 c water
1 c coconut cream (kakang gata), fresh
2 pcs green long chili, whole
Soak banana blossoms in salted water for a minute. Drain and rinse thoroughly. Set aside. Dissolve 1 pouch Mama Sita?s Adobo Mix in water. Set aside.
In a saucepan, heat cooking oil. Fry garlic until golden brown. Add banana blossoms and stir-fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the dissolved adobo mix and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the banana heart becomes tender. Add more water if necessary. Add the coconut cream. Stir once in a while to prevent the sauce from sticking to the pan. Add the green long chilies. Continue cooking until the sauce is slightly thick. Remove from heat and garnish with browned garlic and serve with steamed rice.
Chicken Pita Pockets
5-6 pcs chicken breasts, trimmed of all visible fat, cut into ? to ? thin strips
2 tbsp oil
1 pouch Mama Sita?s Caldereta Mix, dissolved in ? c water
1 pack pita bread, halved
2 pcs bell peppers, cut into strips (red and green)
1 pc white onion, cut into rings and sautéed
Mama Sita?s Labuyo Sauce (optional)
In a medium pan, heat the oil and sauté chicken pieces and cook until brown. Add the dissolved Mama Sita?s Caldereta Mix. Bring to a boil and simmer until the chicken is cooked. Add the bell peppers and continue cooking for 2 more minutes. Add labuyo sauce if desired. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Heat pita loaves in pan, oven or microwave. Cut into halves and stuff each pita bread with chicken mixture and garnish with the sautéed onion rings. Serve.
Fish in Lemongrass and Ginger
4 pcs grouper (lapu-lapu) or snapper (maya-maya) or seabass (apahap), cleaned, scaled and cut into half
1 pc onion, quartered
1 pc ginger, cut into strips
1 pc lemongrass, crushed
3 c rice water
? pc green papaya, quartered
? head cabbage, quartered
1 pouch Mama Sita?s Pang-gisa mix
1 bundle pechay, sliced
Boil onion, lemongrass and ginger in rice water and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the papaya and continue cooking until half-cooked.
Add the cabbage and fish. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes. Add Mama Sita?s Pang-gisa mix and pechay. Continue cooking until the vegetables are done. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve hot.
Grilled Chicken Tocino Salad
? k boneless chicken with skin on, cut into ?-inch thick slices
1 pouch Mama Sita?s Tocino Mix
1 pack mixed greens (e.g. arugula, lollarosa), washed, spin, dried and chilled
7 pcs tomatoes, sliced thinly
7 pcs onions, sliced thinly
7 tbsp Mama Sita?s Coconut Nectar Vinegar
7 tbsp oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle Mama Sita?s Tocino Mix evenly over the chicken. Mix thoroughly for at least 5 minutes. For better results, let stand for 1 hour. Place chicken slices in a lightly greased griller. Grill over hot coals until the chicken is done. Remove from heat and cut into strips and set aside. In a stainless steel bowl, pour the Mama Sita vinegar and add the onions. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside for a few minutes. Add the mixed greens and tomatoes and oil. Toss everything together. Place in a serving plate. Add grilled chicken tocino strips.